Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other fine retailers. See links below. On the Cover note the greatly expanded Gulfs of California and Mexico, the missing Great Lakes and that Central and South America are no longer connected.
I'm still working on the CreateSpace (print version) of the books and hope to have them out by April 1.
And now for more of that Prepper content I've been promising you. This is an excerpt from a non-fiction book I'm working on titled:
I live in the desert southwest where we often get less than ten inches of rainfall per year; but I don’t care if you live on the banks of the Mississippi River or Lake Superior. Securing a supply of potable water is the single most important thing you can do for short or long term survival in a SHTF scenario.
The three basic requirements of life are, in order of importance, air to breathe, water to drink and food to eat.
If your air is bad and it’s NOT just a short term problem like volcanic ash fall or dense smoke from a forest fire, then we’re all dead anyhow so why waste time preparing for it. (If it IS smoke or ash then a gas mask or even a wet bandana can help you breathe until the air clears).
Those of us who live in towns or cities don’t spend much time thinking about water until it comes time to pay the water bill. We just turn the tap and wah-lah, water splashes out. Theoretically, it’s clean, potable water, though I’ve lived in cities where my wife and I drank bottled water because the tap water gave us cramps and made us ill. Nonetheless, for most of us water flows effortlessly from a tap.
So what should you do if you suspect your water supply might fail?
First of all, fill up every container in your house or on your property. Fill bathtubs, sinks, buckets, pots, hot tubs and swimming pools. And once your pool and hot tub are filled put the covers on them to reduce evaporation. Remember that your hot water heater has 40 or 50 gallons stored in it.
Second, if you have time, get to the store and buy as much bottled water as you can. Pick up several gallons of unscented bleach too. It will come in handy for water purification.
As a kid I lived in a small town in Kansas where the water was pumped from a community well up into a water tower and from there was gravity fed to the homes and businesses in the town. Most municipal systems are still gravity fed and thank God for that because when the power goes out the water keeps flowing -- until the tanks or reservoirs that feed the system run dry. Then your world attains a whole new level of desperation.
You know your family needs water for drinking, cooking and cleaning, but you probably don’t realize how much water you use. The average family of four uses about 400 gallons of water per day. You can look at your water bills and see what your total consumption is. Now, don’t freak out. In an emergency situation you will only need a fraction of that because you won’t be running the dishwasher or the clothes washer and you won’t be taking long, hot showers. You also won’t be flushing your toilets. In fact, when the water stops flowing out your taps, you won’t be using your toilets as anything except an emergency drinking water supply. Don’t worry, it can be made potable. The gross out factor will still be there but so what? It will be safe to drink.
When my wife and I lived in Las Vegas the tap water gave us such bad cramps we switched over to Arrowhead bottled water. For the next 2 ½ years we spent an average of $30 per month on drinking water. Then I started thinking about what would happen if even that tap water supply failed and I could no longer get Arrowhead or any other bottled water at a grocery store or Costco Warehouse.
The first thing I did was purchase ten cases (35 16.9oz bottles per case) of bottled water as that was all we had room to store. That comes to about 46 ¼ gallons. The two of us drink about a gallon and a quarter per day. Oh boy, I had a whopping 37 day supply provided all we did was drink -- no cleaning ourselves or our dishes or clothes.
I went to Sportsman’s Warehouse the next day and bought a 55 gallon water barrel that came with a siphon pump. I also picked up a couple of bungs and a bung wrench for the barrel. Total outlay was about $65.
Now I started getting serious. We had a 14,500 gallon swimming pool and an 800 gallon hot tub. I researched how to make that water potable and the simplest answer was unscented bleach or Potable Aqua Chlorine Dioxide Tablets ($12.95 for a packet of 30 from REI). Now, 30 tablets would purify seven and a half gallons of water. Doing the math revealed it would cost me $1,381.00 just to purify my hot tub water with Chlorine Dioxide. As for the pool, well, you do the math. I opted for the unscented bleach, knowing I could always boil the water if I had to.
According to the EPA, (http://water.epa.gov/drink/emerprep/emergencydisinfection.cfm
) during an emergency you should filter murky water through a clean cloth, coffee filters, or paper towels, or let it settle before pouring off the clean water. You should boil it for one minute -- though if you live at any altitude above 3500 feet I’d double that boiling time. Let the water cool and store it in clean, sealed containers.
If you can’t boil the water you can use ⅛ teaspoon (8 drops) of unscented liquid household bleach for each gallon of water. Mix well and let stand for at least 30 minutes.
The State of Washington advises using 5 drops per quart or ¼ teaspoon per gallon, then mix it and let it stand at least one hour before drinking. Both sites tell you to be sure the household bleach you are using is free from any perfumes, dyes and other additives, i.e. unscented. They also advise using bleach that is between 5.25% and 8.25% chlorine so read the label.
These methods are sufficient to kill almost anything in the water that can harm you.
The trouble is, boiling water takes time and fuel, the latter of which is certainly going to be in short supply, unless you live near a forest, and using bleach makes the water taste like, well...bleach. I’ve read that letting the water stand, while stirring it occasionally, will let the chlorine evaporate, but if the water is left standing open it can be contaminated again with insects, bird droppings or the microbes on dust. I’ve also read that pouring the water back and forth between containers will help evaporate the bleach but I do not know if that works. It will aerate the water and make it taste better.
Then I started researching water filters and purifiers and found a better alternative. I made the decision early on that I did not want a filter with any moving parts because such things eventually wear out and must be replaced. So I looked into gravity fed devices and after a few days surfing the survival and Prepper websites I narrowed the choice down to two -- the AquaRain model 404, stainless steel with a three gallon capacity and the Royal Berkey, also stainless steel with a 3 gallon capacity. Both units can be used with either 2 or 4 filters and with 4 filters both can produce 24 gallons of filtered and purified water per day. These are the only two filtration systems I found that are legally allowed to say that they purify
water instead of just filtering it.
There is a long, detailed explanation as to why this is so but I am not going to include that information here. Instead I’ll give you the links and you can look it all up for yourself. Here are two links for the AquaRain. http://www.internet-grocer.net/aqua.htm http://www.myaquarain.com http://www.nitro-pak.com/aquarain-drip-filter
And here’s a link for the Royal Berkey. http://www.berkeyfilters.com/berkey-water-filters/systems/royal-berkey.html
Suffice it to say, both of these units have been extensively field tested in places such a Haiti after the big quake where they literally filtered and purified raw sewage to potability with no ill effects on the first responders using them.
I went with the AquaRain Model 404 with 4 filters, not just because it was a little bit cheaper at $309 vs $358 for the Royal Berkey, but also because I liked the fact that they did Independent Laboratory testing with fully expended filter elements -- that is elements that had been cleaned so often they were abraded to 10% below their end of life tolerance and then exposed to contaminated field water prior to testing. Every single filter so tested passed the stringent EPA standards for a bacteria and cystpurifier
In addition, their filters can be cleaned and reinstalled up to 200 times allowing you to purify literally thousands of gallons of contaminated water before needing to replace them. When my wife and I lived in Vegas I used our AquaRain every single day for more than year and a half and never even had to clean the filters once. Of course I was filtering Vegas tap water -- the stuff that made Jane and I sick -- but once I started filtering it...no problems. Tasted like real water. Within a single year it had paid for itself. I should also add that the AquaRain is 100% Made in America.
Now, if TSHTF, I know I can purify any conceivable water in sufficient quantities to meet our needs indefinitely, or at least so long as I have water available to purify. And as for the manufacturer’s recommendation to replace the filters every six months when in regular use so the carbon remains “activated” well, I figure once the carbon “deactivates” I’ll taste the difference in the filtered water and so far I haven’t. So, like many companies, I think they are covering their butts and trying to sell more filters.
Rain Catchment Systems
Where we currently live we can expect an average of 10” of annual rainfall and 4” of snow falling on our 2000 sf roof. That translates to roughly 11,200 gallons of fresh water annually, which just might be enough to allow us to maintain our garden and fruit trees and survive.
Such Rain Catchment systems are an excellent idea for anyone who doesn’t have easy access to a well, pond, spring, stream, river, or lake. Here’s a link to a Rain Collection Calculator. http://www.rainharvestingsystems.com/Services/RainCollectionCalculator.aspx
One of the questions people most often ask about water on prepper websites such as the American Prepper’s Network is, “How much should I store?”
The EPA recommends a minimum of one gallon per person per day so use that as a rule of thumb. I maintain our supply of ten cases of Arrowhead bottled water, plus our 55 gallon drum of filtered water. That gives my wife and I roughly 100 gallons or a 50 day supply of actual, ready to use, drinking water. We still have an 800 gallon hot tub, which, theoretically, could stretch our drinking water supply to 450 days, but we would be forced to use some of it for sponge baths and at least a half gallon a day for cooking and for other cleaning purposes. Realistically, I think we’d have a nine month supply.
Add in our Rain Catchment System, which is a work in progress as I continue to add IBC’s whenever I can afford to do so, and I think we have a decent chance. But my ultimate goal is to be able to store up to 10,000 gallons at once, because when we do get rain here it comes down hard, and fast, and may not come again for months.
You must decide for yourself, how much water is enough. Regardless of what you decide, I wholeheartedly recommend you buy the best water filtration system you can afford. Water is life and it’s no place to skimp.
Of course the best way to insure your family has water is to drill a well but most people living in the suburbs cannot do that because it’s illegal. Here in Arizona anyone can get a well permit if they live on a minimum one acre lot and the well location is at least 100 feet from their neighbor’s septic system. That is unless they live in one of Arizona’s Active Management Areas—mostly comprising the metropolitan corridor between Phoenix and Tucson.
So, if you live in a city or a suburb you probably will be prohibited by statute from having your own well. The key in such a situation is to know how your city gets its water supply and where that water comes from. Many cities have reservoirs, while others rely on pumping water from deep wells. Relatively few towns or cities have gravity fed systems or artesian wells. Consider yourself extremely fortunate if you happen to live in one of them.
If you are lucky enough to live somewhere you can have a well and you decide to put one in you still need to do so with an off grid pump, solar panels and rechargeable batteries so you will have water if the power fails. You should, as a backup, be able to hook up a generator powered by gasoline or propane or natural gas to your well pump to insure a continued supply of water. If your well is shallow enough (opinions vary widely on what that means) you can install a hand pump and not worry about electricity at all. Most well designed hand pumps can deliver water from a static head depth of 150 feet. Static head is the distance from the water level in your well to your pump outlet. Note that your well could be seven hundred feet deep and the submersible part of your hand pump could be at five or six hundred feet so you would be drawing water from there but so far as the lifting capacity of the hand pumps is concerned it is only pumping water from the static head level. Here are a couple of links about hand pumps: http://www.resilientdesign.org/hand-pumps-an-option-for-back-up-water-pumping/ http://flojak.com/?gclid=Cj0KEQiAuremBRCbtr-1qJnKi-4BEiQAh0x08C2sf2zHxM0rt7xgcQPDQHOJ0ekIj_Tg-A4Xguu-TawaArrS8P8HAQ
If you live back East or somewhere with a high water table (let’s say you’re in an area where you can’t have a basement because you’d hit water) you might be able to drive a well with a sandpoint. If I lived in such an area I’d be tempted to purchase a sandpoint and keep it on hand in case TSHTF. With some lumber, rope, a weight (such as a fence post driver) and a pulley you could rig a tripod and drive an emergency well. I won’t go into the process here but Google it.
I’ve already mentioned cases of bottled water, spas, bathtubs, hot water heaters and (yuck) toilets, but unless you live next to a lake or river, the best option is a swimming pool. When we were in Las Vegas we had a 14,500 gallon in ground pool with a cover. Now frankly, the cover was there to allow the pool to heat up faster in the Spring and cool down slower in the Fall, thus extending our swimming season by at least two months every year. But that water could have been filtered through our AquaRain device for drinking.
How much water you can store depends upon your ingenuity and circumstances. If you live in a small apartment you’ll be playing by different rules than someone in a single family home on a half-acre lot. But storing water under your bed, in your pantry, in your closets is still possible. If you have a basement or live in a building with storage lockers well…there you go.
I’m putting cisterns in their own section because they are one of the cheapest and best ways to store water ever invented. They can be sited underground or above ground, made from plastic, metal or concrete and their size is limited only by your wallet and local ordinances. Should you be so unfortunate as to live in an area controlled by neo-nazis, I mean HOA’s, or restrictive covenants, you may have other hoops to jump through.
Even if you are blessed with a well you should have a cistern because having one means less wear and tear on your deep submersible pump. Here are a few links: http://www.tank-depot.com/productdetails.aspx?part=N-40635&gclid=Cj0KEQiAuremBRCbtr-1qJnKi-4BEiQAh0x08ER6e2PFzzp8BtaIRjn4Qfla_rkcmQcbSjLthZLSD5kaAr868P8HAQ http://www.plastic-mart.com/product/2724/2500-gallon-plastic-water-storage-tank-42040?gclid=Cj0KEQiAuremBRCbtr-1qJnKi-4BEiQAh0x08G-qXBMqLSJxJl6QHPTPzWxHb5_neAw6C88-iwqLrbcaAkij8P8HAQ http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/homestead-cistern-zmaz78mjzgoe.aspx
My personal preference is for an underground cistern as it is less susceptible to damage (from bullets or vandals for example) is not as visible and therefore is less likely to draw complaints or unwanted attention from neighbors. The cistern can be recharged by well pump, water haul truck or rainwater. It can be drawn with a bucket and rope, hand pump or small electric pump. The advantages far outweigh the costs because, as I said at the beginning of this chapter, water is life.
That's it for this month folks. Hope you liked it and that it gave you food for thought.